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The Endless Struggle to Classify

This post was originally inspired by the release of "Like Clockwork" by QotSA, which is an excellent album by all rights, and I'm incredibly satisfied that one of my favorite bands of all time has not completely lost it. There are many bands that I feel lose their edge, or simply run out of material after a couple albums, and then their ongoing attempts seem a little pathetic. Of course everyone WANTS them to come out with something great, and has that little place in their brains where hope is stored that tells us maybe this time, against all odds, they have fond the font of creativity again and it's all going to be alright.

Maybe Maynard has it figured out, Tool has already made it to the status of legendary in the rock and roll community after only releasing four studio albums (and one kickass EP). They haven't released an album in 7 years, and Maynard is busy selling organic produce. The cult of fans he's raised may be upset about that, but maybe Maynard is one of the most honest rock and roll musicians ever to hit the stage, and he just realizes that he doesn't have anything else truly great to offer in the form of Tool. I wouldn't mind being proven wrong, I would love to see another album from them, but if they stayed away permanently they would still live on as gods.

That brings me around to the current project I've been working on. What are the greatest albums that have come along in the 21st century? At this point I'm limiting this mostly as an examination of rock music because that's just my style and I don't think I'm much of a judge of pop music. It sucks, I don't get it, w/e. One band that has truly stood out as I've run through all the existing lists and my own personal preferences is Dream Theater. Thus the featured song today.

Dream Theater is one of those few bands that has grown in power as they move along, almost as if they somehow gain more inspiration as they go. Part of that is what I believe to be the anathema of the rock and roll star, substance abuse. Based on the stories of James LaBrie, Mike Portnoy, John Petrucci and the rest of the gang, they have really managed to conquer their demons in a way most stars haven't. Not that they haven't been tormented, but they have grown and adapted throughout their now venerable careers, and that personal growth has found its way into their music.

Anyhow, I'm not going to stack my mental list of great albums with just Dream Theater, but not going to lie, Octavarium is in the running for the best of the best.

That's all, now go ye out into the world and jam.



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